How to Beat Distraction and Make the Most of Virtual Meetings (infographic)
THE RISE OF THE VIRTUAL REVOLUTION
In an age of Wi-Fi, mobile hotspots, and portable devices, humans are more globally connected than ever before. As companies continue to expand across continents, telecommuting and working remotely have become workplace norms. In fact, a 2014 survey of 1,700 employees, reported that 79% of respondents worked “always” or “frequently” in dispersed teams.
However, behind every great advancement lurks a drawback. Cue the nemesis of the virtual revolution: the infamous
THE WORKINGS OF DR. DISTRACTION
Dr. Distraction is a master of disguise, colluding closely with other arch nemeses such as procrastination and multi-tasking. Together they expertly camouflage unproductive activities in a veil of attraction and urgency, making ineffective behaviors seem necessary in the moment. You may have experienced some of their trickery…
And, if you have experienced their trickery, then you've probably experienced the negative consequences, too. Take a look at the following example.
Are You Abigail or James?
As the story of Abigail and James illustrates, distraction can undermine our credibility with fellow team members and cause us to miss important information. When you’re asked to be in a meeting or on a call, there’s a reason. Your full attention and participation are needed. And that means beating Dr. Distraction before he strikes.
Here are 10 Indispensable Strategies to Stay Focused in Virtual Meetings and Conference Calls
1. Reduce environmental distractions
Move to a quiet room and plan ahead. Take action to silence any potential causes of background noise—your phone, kids, dog, lawnmower, etc.
2. Minimize the machines
Use only what you need for the call or meeting. Turn off the TV, put away the tablet, and get rid of any other devices with the power to divert your attention.
3. Close your tabs
Close any tabs or apps that don’t pertain to the meeting. We promise you can check Instagram later.
4. Turn off Wi-Fi
Often, you can access the documents you need for a meeting (email, Word doc, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint slide, etc.) without internet connection. Download those documents before the meeting, then turn off your Wi-Fi to prevent further distraction.
5. Resolve to be present
You have the power to devote your attention to the task at hand; do it. Take a minute to close your eyes, breathe, meditate, do jumping jacks, go to your happy place—anything you need to do to get re-grounded and focused.
6. Establish rapport
At the beginning of the call or meeting, introduce yourself and greet co-attendees. Banter is great as long as you’re able to segue!
7. Use your active listening skills
As appropriate, demonstrate interest by occasionally acknowledging what others are saying, summarize a speaker’s words to show your understanding, seek clarification when needed, and, ultimately, respect others by genuinely listening.
8. Avoid multi-tasking
Multi-tasking is one of Dr. Distraction’s faithful sidekicks. Even if you feel you have nothing to do, avoid the urge to work on other things.
9. Don’t get too comfortable
If you've properly prepared, you'll have your coffee, tea, kombucha, or Red Bull right there in front of you. Still, if you begin to feel drowsy or have difficulty concentrating, stand up for the duration of the call or meeting. Or, sit on an exercise ball—whatever it takes to stay alert.
10. Find ways to be an active participant
Volunteer to be timekeeper or note-taking scribe. If those roles are taken, ,make notes for yourself (it’ll help you focus on speakers and content).
Arming yourself with these tools will help ward off Dr. Distraction and keep you on the path of productivity.
Don't forget to download the complete infographic on How to Beat Distraction and Make the Most of Virtual Meetings. Feel free to share it with others!
For video training on improving teamwork, engagement and personal accountability, we recommend these programs:
The INVISIBLE Meeting
MANAGER MOMENTS: How to Build a High-Performing Team
Communication Counts: Speaking and Listening for Results